Blown Away

Friday 22nd June 2007

F1 fans (none of which read this regularly, if at all) will probably know that most of the teams have been testing this week at Silverstone. I went yesterday – the picture above was taken by my Dad (and well done to him, he got shedloads of really good photos, which is by no means easy). It was my first time seeing F1 cars being driven in anger, “in the metal” so to speak.

And wow. When we arrived the cars were already running, and as we approached the circuit you could hear them going round, really clearly. From a distance, an F1 car sounds like a swarming nest of wasps; if the wasps were pissed off and on steroids. As you get closer though, it’s something else. Hearing them on TV – or even from a distance – doesn’t prepare you for the piercing wail of the engine, or the vicious thud of the gear changes. We stood on the exit of Luffield (pretty much the last corner before the pit straight) for a good portion of the day, and the sound as they booted it out of the corner was just amazing. Especially on the Ferrari – Massa seemed to be able to put his foot down right at the apex of the corner and literally launch himself out of it. Which probably goes some way to explaining why his front-right wheel was in the air…

The sheer pace of the cars is bloody cool too. When you watch on TV you know they’re going quickly, but you don’t quite get how quick they actually are. When you’re there, you can’t help but notice the speed they carry through the corners, how little time it takes them to build up more speed out of them, or how quickly they can shed it again for the next turn.

Makes you realise how good all of the drivers really are. I mean, it’s one thing to see them correcting a slide on TV, but when you see them doing it right in front of you, it’s different somehow. You end up thinking “I well never, ever be able to drive like that”. I shall certainly bear that thought in mind in future, when a driver is doing badly.

Anyway, if you’ve never been before, I strongly recommend it if you’re even the least bit interested in motorsport. Actually even if you’re not, I’d recommend it – it’s something that just has to be experienced. I certainly can’t wait to go back – the Silverstone Classic next month looks particularly promising…

Posted at 10:59 pm | Posted In: Motorsport Tagged:

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